Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Soul Sacrifice launch trailer mixes in-game, live action and render effects

Would you buy this game? Not much point in asking since you're already on Sony's radar. Would you buy a Vita and this game if you saw this ad on TV and knew nothing about either? is the more pertinent question. Doubt this will ever actually air on TV, but still looks pretty smart.

Mind 0 thinks about a trailer

Cue confusion and chaos as westerners try to understand the Japanese mind games going on in this Acquire title, there's a little more content than the first teaser trailer, but I'm still asking myself, what the heck?

Soul Sacrifice reviews incoming, good but not great?

It's been so long since an important Vita game came up for review that I'd forgotten this bit, the inevitable dread as the scores come in. Soul Sacrifice is doing well if not great on the score front, probably averaging a 7.5 to 8, if I could be bothered to do the math.

At least the demo has helped actual game players and likely buyers decide if they'll like it, which is more important than any review. Note, most of the reviews don't cover multiplayer which is generally the main selling point for these games (certainly in Japan), so you might want to add a half-a-point to any that don't.

Godisageek 9/10
NowGamer 85%
ClickOnline 4/5
TwinFinite 4/5
IGN 7.7/10
EuroGamer 7/10
Games Radar 7/10

Monday, April 29, 2013

If Soul Sacrifice can't knock Virtua Tennis off the top of the chart, the Vita in done in Europe (for now)

Another week, still a year-old-game on top of the Vita chart thanks to Sega's reduced pricing of Virtua Tennis, which is a great game and one I've got back into it in a big way recently. However, it shows the shocking state of the Vita's line-up that VT and the four big games from last winter (FIFA, NFS, CoD, AC3) have sat largely unchallenged atop the UK chart, with only Persona 4 Golden making a brief dent.

Anyway, that should all change this week with Soul Sacrifice launching. Except, have you noticed any marketing for it from Sony? Umm, me neither, a bit of pre-order offering aside. Okay, so Soul Sacrifice was never going to boost Vita sales being too hardcore and nasty, and a new IP that westerners can't really relate to, for Sony to risk a massive ad-spend.

But for Sony not to make any effort is pretty grim! With no idea on EU Vita sales, expect they're crap otherwise Sony would tell us (I'd guess less than 500 UK sales a week), and the US not doing great, only Japan's recent revival post-price cut and a roster of decent games (that's shifted maybe an extra 150,000 units over baseline sales) shows how poorly the western Vita is doing.

This surely highlights the lacklustre efforts of Sony Europe and US on the Vita. Here's a potentially big new game, and no one outside the core will ever know it exists. If this doesn't work then expect nothing good about the Vita in the UK until the next batch of "big" games, you know FIFA 14, CoD 3 , AC3 Phoenix Rising and so on, and so on, and so on!

And when those games turn up every gamer's money will  be going toward shiny new PS4 and X720 consoles. Sony has until then to get its Vita motor running, but it already looks like too little, too late, and not even the Vita's fantastic roster of indie games will help.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jason and his Technicolour coat of Soul Sacrifice?

Japan is getting some new free Soul Sacrifice DLC in May, and all I can think when looking at this coat is polychromatic stealth technology or good old Jason burbling away. Guess this will head west soon enough, hope everyone has got their pre-orders in for next week.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Jacob Jones Bigfoot adventures to the Vita

Phew, I'm not mad, I saw this on the PSN blog yesterday but when I came to write it up it had vanished. I guess they blew some news deadline like they did with Star Wars Pinball.

Anyway, here we have a highly stylised adventure, powered by Unreal Engine 3, from some former Bizarre Creations types with script duties going to a proper TV comedy writer, which will look right at home on the Vita, more to follow soon.

LEGO: Legends of Chima Laval's Journey gets a new trailer

Skylanders, Invizimals, Pokemon; the digital worlds are full of monsters and LEGO isn't going to let this trend pass it by. Legends of Chima is due out in the Autumn and will pack in monsters, battles and quests galore. More importantly, the company doesn't have to splash out on expensive licensing for this one.

From the release: Get ready for an epic adventure as Laval races to unlock the secret of the legendary triple-Chi armor before Cragger can manipulate its awesome power to threaten the balance of Chima itself! Laval and his allies will explore Lion Temple, Eagle Spire, Gorilla Forrest, Rhino Quary, Croc Swamp and more as they harness the power of Chi to leap, swing, fly and fight through 15 levels of intense action! Can Laval discover the truth behind the legend of the triple-Chi before it’s too late?

Another week, another Dragon's Crown trailer, meet the Elf

And, cue the feeble Elf and safety jokes as he hangs high in the sky, unleashed arrow-based death. Shooting fire arrows and multi-shots he doesn't seem as devastating as the dwarf and can't touch the Sorceress in the "interesting" stakes as seen in the earlier Dragon's Crown videos.

Atlus are bringing the game to western audiences soon.

Review: Thomas Was Alone

Gaming, as you might have noticed, is undergoing something of a transformation. As an antidote to the big budget games, things are getting simpler and, dare I say it, back to basics. That's why Sony is so into its indies I guess, especially with so few big-name-games coming to the Vita.

Few of these titles look as primitive as Thomas Was Alone. Yet, when you see it moving in all its hi-res glory, with the comic book shadows and little background touches, with a placid soundtrack, it is rather appealing.

The gameplay too is simple, yet mildly fiendish. Thomas isn't alone for long and he and his fellow shapes must use their varying size, bounce-ability and other properties to work together to get through the big leaps, narrow gaps and across obstacles. Team work is the order of the day, with the shoulder buttons tabbing between your blocky chums.

Each section has a little intro, suggesting some AI experiment gone awry, and each level a little narration, provided by Danny Wallace (I was thinking Danny John Jules for some reason, but DW does a fine job of not being Stephen Fry). This gives the shapes a little personality and some frisson while adding a definite British charm and calm, which comes as a relief after the recent Latin-American overdose of Guacamelee and the poultry-laced insanity of Rocketbirds.

Along the way you have to watch out for Tiny squares that trigger trophy rewards (that bit is a lot easier on the PS3), with cloud saving allowing you to switch between the two formats. If you can't see an obvious solution move the right stick around to view the level and you'll likely find something you missed.

Offering a reasoned challenge, without having you screaming at the Vita or throwing it out the window, Thomas Was Alone is a charming puzzler that sticks to its core ambitions rigidly, so don't expect radical variations later on in the game. Enjoy it for what it is (a clever idea expressed in a minimalist manner) and you have a good few hours gaming to conquer. 

Price: £5.99 (PSN), free on PS+
Score: 7/10
Progress: Complete
More reviews

Thursday, April 25, 2013

FIFA 14 confirmed for the Vita

Thanks to Manuel 97 on Twitter for the nod, but it looks like Amazon US (UPDATE: Also on GameStop's site) has confirmed FIFA 14 will be coming to the Vita, the question is will it be a proper game with cross-play and cross-save to the PS3 version? I see the box image on my iPhone but not the website.

The release date of September 24 sounds typical and the rest of the text is cribbed from EA's release last week. Amazon UK just has a placeholder for the PS3 version.

More BlazBlue for the Vita Coming in October

Arc System Works has been quiet working on its new arcade-release brawler, but will show up on console with BlazBlue ChronoPhantasma on October 24 in Japan for 7,140 yen (£45) featuring new characters (Kagura Mutsuki and Yuki Terumi)and modes for PS Vita and PS3. That comes after the summer release of XBlaze,

Black Rock Shooter EU release delayed by gremlins

My oops I guess, the game should be out on PSN, but isn't due to technical reasons. Check out my review here. NIS America apologies with the following message.
We wanted to get in touch with you to inform you that Black Rock Shooter The Game was originally slated to launch on European PSN today. However, currently the title is not available for download and we are working with Sony to resolve this issue as soon as possible. As soon as we have more information as to when the title will be available.

UPDATE: The game is now live on the EU PSN, all is well, carry on, nothing to see here!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sony tempting lost souls with pre-orders ready for sacrifice

Sony has put up a new trailer showing the pre-order goodies on offer with Soul Sacrifice, the game is out next week, so you'd better get a move on with the PSN or boxed edition.

There's still time to check out the demo too.

Llamasoft talking about TxK on the Vita

A PSN blog post shows off the first concept image of Llamasoft's revisioning of the classic Jaguar title Tempest 2000, itself an acid-tinged version of the vector classic arcade game.

The post covers what we know already with a few subtle hints as to what's to come.
"New terrains, new bonus rounds, new enemies and weapons will be wrought together into an exhilarating whole. The PS Vita’s beautiful OLED screen will blaze with colour and light as we bring to bear 30 years of experience in designing both games and music visualizers, to bring you a game that feels excellent to play and looks stunning and unique. An array of musicians are already at work creating original music that will fit the gameplay perfectly."

Thomas Was Alone hits PSN, free for PS+ subs

Four games out for the Vita (two for PSP) users this week. Thomas is Alone from Curve is free for PS+ subscribers, £5.99 for other users. Apart from being a lie (he's not alone for very long) this is a highly stylish puzzler that plays way beyond its simplistic looks. It also comes with two of the easiest trophies ever, jump 1,600 times and die 100 times you can do in about five minutes.

Draw Slasher is a touchscreen-heavy game that take its riff from the many dicing iOS games out there, while PSP and Vita users can go for some more traditional blade action in the form of Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi. Finally, there's the much awaited Black Rock Shooter on PSP for those who like a little more kinetic action.

Also, remember Sound Shapes and Smart As... are available as part of PSN's latest sale effort.

Smart As and Sound Shapes in PSN's lost treasures sale

Given the Vita is barely a year old, it'd be hard to lose any of its treasured games, but in case you're new to the portable, Sony has actually added a couple of Vita titles to its latest sale with an additional 10% off for PS Plus subscribers. Everybody really should already own Sound Shapes, but Smart As... might be worth a go when the store updates later today.

PS Vita Smart as…
Was €24.99/£19.99, now €12.49/£8.99

Sound Shapes
Was €12.99/£9.99, now €6.49/£5.19

Review: Black Rock Shooter (PSN)

I longed for this PSP game having seen the Japanese pre-launch hype, the limited edition and suffered through the would-it/wouldn't-it come west. Now this manga-inspired game is here on PSN thanks to NIS America, and its just as fun as I'd hoped, if not quite as evolved as you might expect.

BRS tells the tale of Earth's military taking a beating from mechanoid alien forces, with one squad down to its last few men, when a blue-eyed young girl (just known as Black Rock Shooter) appears on the scene packing some major artillery and an innocence that sets her way apart from the squad's hard-nosed attitude. She's a neat counterpoint, done in typically Japanese style.

The action takes place in various landscapes, starting off in a shattered San Francisco, with small chunks of exploring (map the shoulder buttons to the right-stick for easier navigation) interspersed with rapid, intense, real-time battles. Our heroine is largely fixed in place during combat with the enemies homing in on her. Some use ranged weapons fire while others will aim to get close and splat her into the ground, or a mix of the two.

Use the nub to aim and unleash well-timed hell on the enemies, as she gets better and levels-up, power ups like the Charge Shot are added to her arsenal, and triggered with the right-shoulder and a button. Health packs are picked up after battles and can be used at anytime. As you get into the game some very strange human characters also turn-up offering more magical or conventional attacks that need to be overcome.

During combat you have to watch the weapons' heat level, as it'll jam in over heat, leaving you powerless for a brief time. In those moments you can use the dodge or block buttons to avoid enemy attacks. Larger enemies have multiple hit-points adding a little strategy to your attacks. Between battles the route ahead is well marked, but there are hidden crates and terminals here and there among the devastation that are worth activating. Look out for action points along the way for shortcuts and goodies.

While BRS starts out feeling rather simplistic, it soon adds enough depth with a range of passive powers you can activate, and with quick saving and loading, a defeat never sets you back too far in the game. Sure, the enemies could be a little more subtle and varied in their attacks, the battle zones could have some more depth, but the plot and pacing keep you rushing along (with vehicles to speed up some sections)

Price: $19.99 (PSN)
Score: 8/10
More reviews

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Capturing video from your PS Vita

It is cool to take screenshots direct on your PS Vita (PS+Start for the uninitiated) but with a little effort and expense, you can also capture video without the need for a magical debug unit. YouTuber cobanermani has got himself a capture card just for the job and has come up with a demo of it grabbing the Vita's output at a rather excessive 1080p.

Follow his posts for more details on the hardware.

Dragon's Crown western site goes live

Ignoring the artistic debate over on Kotaku, Atlus is going full speed ahead on the western release of Dragon's Crown, opening up the English language site to users. With the game due out in August, learn all about the character skills and traits before the action kicks off.

Review: Persona 4 Golden

So, here's the biggest PS Vita game on the block, the one to save the day. Expect that hasn't really worked out. Still, that's not Persona's fault, that's something for Sony to chew over. Atlus on the other hand, has a bona fide work of genius on their hands.

A game finely crafted (which it should be, considering we're on No. 4) to guide the player through the game's only-just-bit annoying grinding with a sense of humour, a sense of value to the lives and well-being of the characters, and the fantastic concept of the Personas as your big weapon which can be built up to create the perfect superpower of choice.

I'd played the opening hours of Persona 3 Portable and got the general hang of it, before pausing that effort as this update of the PS2 game launch loomed. I didn't want to get too into things to feel jaded by doing it all again. The main difference I can see is you don't have to blow your own brains out to summon a persona, which is nice.

Instead, as a newcomer to a small-town school the hero has to fit in with the school's schedule, make friends and then gets involved in the murder mystery that's sweeping the town. Soon he and his friends are being sucked through TV screens into an alternate dimension where people are meeting their true dark sides, and either accepting them, or being spat out dead into the real world.

To combat the force behind these horrors that come in the rain and fog, your team must power-up by exploring cookie-cutter level after level, fighting off the freakish nasties with basic weapons (you start out with a golf club, can use a fishing rod and even highly efficient corn-on-the-cob). Once the story gets going, your personas come more to the fore as a fighting force. If you've played the previous games, then the action, the Velvet Room and the persona concept are all pretty much the same.

If you haven't, a persona is a construct of your soul, based on your efforts in the real world, and the relationships you build. Some are outright attack machines, others can be used to heal and buff the party with many shades in between. Each has multiple skills and grows in power as you progress.

You pick up more along the way through a series of cards dealt after most battles. But it is rather annoying sacrificing personas and skills constantly to make way for new ones without really getting to know them.

The trick is to blend these personas in the Velvet Room, a lounge-lizard witches' cauldron to build better personas. Armed with the finest of these you can take on the game's boss characters, but first you'll probably find your butts getting whipped repeatedly, which is when you discover the need to rerun the levels a few times, grinding and grinding.

That's a bit of a pain, but with combat, fast, fluid and pretty fun, and each level cunningly designed around the twisted desires of their creator, it is not a major problem. You race up to a beastie on the level, get the first blow in and can then beat it down with repeat attacks, a couple of personas and a bundle attack if they're weak enough. Keep an eye on your health and persona power all the same and use the many healing potions you pick up to keep in top form.

You do have to be pretty self-preservation minded about this as when you die, you get kicked back to the start of the level, so letting your comrades take a beating and focusing on healing yourself is essential.

Back in the real world, you can use goodies found in battle, or treasure chests, to craft new items, increasing your defensive and offensive abilities. Going shopping, and meeting the locals is always fun and you have to wonder what fate will befall your niece, Nanako, who's always sat in front of the TV. Then its back to school for the day's lessons, extracurricular activities, and social groups.

With easy jumps between places in both realms, the adventure and action really moves along at a pace and it all looks so much better than playing a PSP or PS2 game on the Vita's screen. The only thing that prevents a perfect score is the grim knowledge that you'll need to grind lots to beat even the optional bosses, surely there's a more elegant solution?

But the personality of the game, the fragility of the characters and the sense of foreboding as the rain comes down and the fog closes in, they all make a little grinding very well worth it. There are grim and happy endings to experience that will pull at the heartstrings, and while the ending phases drag out, there's huge replay value in finding what you missed the first time around.

Yes, you've seen all the high scores for the game, but you can only realise why it's so special once you spend a little time in the world, where else do you gain courage by eating tongue-melting Tofu?

Price: £27.99 (Amazon)/£34.99 (PSN)
Score: 9/10
Progress: Happy ending
More Reviews

Monday, April 22, 2013

More corpses, more parties on the Vita, all aboard for a Blood Drive

We've already seen one Corpse Party title on the PSP/Vita, and another is on the way, Blood Drive. The sequel to Book of Shadows from 5bp will follow in the same vein. The first Vita game is down for £12 on the PSN store, if you want to give it a go, and I guess XSEED will bring the new one over too, if there's been enough interest.

Its a first-person point-and-click adventure style gameplay, with binaural 3D audio, dozens of endings, a “Darkening” system that slowly distorts both the game’s visuals and its characters’ decision-making abilities, and a host of unlockable extrs.

Pre-order Soul Sacrifice on PSN this week

Here's the web version of PSN up with its offer for Soul Sacrifice, offering the extra costumes and items plus the Japanese voice work. Due to memory space limits, I've gone for a boxed copy, but I hope you've all been playing the demo to get up to speed.

Take a trip around town in Toukiden

We've seen a fair bit of the action of Toukiden, but to cement its monster hunting credentials, the game also needs a nice town where you can craft weapons, pick up goods, quests and other stuff. So, here's the local digs, in all its regal splendour, with just the right people to talk to when it comes to preparing for those big missions.

Of all the Vita's contenders to fill the MH-gap so far, this one does look the business and with Omega Force's stellar credentials it could be the game to make Japan sit up and take notice, or not.

Gundam Breaker Beta in Japan on video

This Namco game is coming out for the PS3 and Vita in Japan, but I think the beta is only out on the PS3. Still, it looks pretty good, if you're into the long-slogging-it-out mech series with a heavy focus on online play and likely reliance on PSO-style micro upgrades.

The video is from the beta, so things may well change, and this is just a player trying it out, so I'd imagine combat would look a little slicker when you know what you're doing.

Sly Trilogy bulking out the Vita's classics line-up

Hot on the slippery heels of Jak and Daxter's PS2 trilogy, the original Sly Cooper series is likely getting a Vita HD release according to a store schedule somewhere (read it over the weekend, can't remember which one). That'll bring another hat-trick of mildly nostalgic games for Vita owners, but really isn't going to help sell the machine.

Imagine this, but more, lots more....

It might also help sales of the new Sly game, which met with decidedly whelmed reviews and, judging by the demo, lacked any particular sparkle. What might be cool is a Vita Legends pack with all the Jak and Sly games when the Vita price cut finally hits here, giving younger gamers a very attractive looking bundle to look forward to.

History: Legends of War, a footnote in the UK Vita chart

Ouch! Not only is an early Vita title back at No.1 but its the cheapest boxed-game in Vita-dom. As if that's not a pretty grim indicator of Vita releases and sales overall, a decent new game, Slitherine's Legends of War only manages to make in at No. 20. Still it'll all be better in a couple of weeks :).

Then again, having played Virtua Tennis for a bit recently, you have to see the appeal, loads of fun mini-games, compelling world tour mode with online and plenty of trophies, it is pretty much the perfect portable title.

2 FIFA 13 EA SPORTS 1 30

To be fair, with a £40+ price tag (UPDATE: Now down to £33, that was quick), many gamers might be waiting until the price drops a bit for this one, and it hasn't exactly been visible from a marketing perspective . Still, the very similar Patton game on the PSP was pretty good and this a rare breed of the Vita (video here), so please pick it up, when you think the price is right.

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2013 UKIE Ltd

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Snap girls' bottoms in Photo Kano Kiss

Straight to No. 1 in Japan I reckon, this 22 minute video of the demo that's now out on their PSN (where you can happily skip the nagging shrew in the first 10) shows pretty much all you need to know about this Vita instalment in the long running series.

Use the Vita as a camera to get the "best" shot of lots of school girls in various scenes, with good shots helping you to get a date. There might be something deeper in this Enterbrain/Kadokawa title, but I doubt it. Western release? Don't even ask!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Jak and Daxter HD Trilogy to party on the Vita

Having partied hard on the PS3, the dynamic duo from the PS2 era will make their arrival on the Vita providing the first three adventures to go along with Daxter's tale on the PSP. With an early summer release, this is pretty much just weeks away and will add some much needed 3D adventuring to the Vita's roster, tweaked with trophies and what seems like some touch control additions.

Mind Zero teaser set firmly in the real world

What could it all mean? It all feels a bit Persona-ry but we have some grimy urban scenes, empty classrooms, mention of Akihabara and a few of the characters. Certainly a lot more explaining needed from Acquire on this Vita title.

Dragon's Crown: The Dwarf takes centre stage

Looking like he'd fit right in among the cast of the Hobbit, the dwarf kicks ass and takes names with a range of "interesting" attacks. They're hard to describe, mostly variations on leaping, throwing and swiping, and he seems be a bit one-dimensional (in many senses) compared to the Sorceress we saw last week.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Indies getting Spiky on the Vita, here comes Aban Hawkins

1,000 Spikes just isn't enough for the Vita, so we're getting an upgraded version of Aban Hawkins' pointy adventures in platforming. The original Xbox indie game is coming to the Vita with 1,001 spikes (mwah, hah, hah) via Nicalis, announced via Twitter with a full ensemble of chip tunes and painful death.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Toukiden demo video shows off fighting stances

As if Soul Sacrifice for western gamers isn't enough today, Toukiden (more news and video) is coming and will offer more big-beast battling action soon for Japanese gamers. This new video from Tecmo shows off the four fighting styles, which I'm guessing are melee, sword, bow and chain-weapons, with a smattering of magic.

Expect plenty of (badly translated) news and more footage soon.

Vita hardware slide continues in Japan, but games sticking in the chart

Having apologized for short stock in Japan, it looks like the Vita is on the slide again with just over 14,000 sold this week according to the new Media Create hardware sales. On the plus side, it is still No.2 on the hardware chart, and all hardware saw big falls. The Vita has also crossed 1.5 million sales in Japan, which might bring a little cheer to Sony.

Also, recent releases Muramasa, Soul Sacrifice (160,000 sold) and Pirate Warriors 2 are sticking around in the games chart, suggesting that quality Vita releases are getting a longer tail, rather than the early trend of good sales in week one, gone in week two.

Generally, it has been a quiet couple of weeks in Japan, as the country prepares for the bedlam of Golden Week toward the end of the month, so this isn't grim news (yet). Hopefully Sony's stocks will be back up to full strength for then and with the Best budget range plus new releases like Photokana Kiss on the way.

Valhalla Knight 3's TV trailer has a pulse

Short, sharp and to the point, check out how Marvelous is promoting Valhalla Knights 3 over in Japan. Here's hoping a glimpse of an elfin character in a bikini is going to help sell the game.

FIFA 14 comes with one new feature, only PS3/Xbox/PC announced

The details will come later today, but EA's press release makes for incredibly dull reading. As last year, there's no mention of the "other" platforms, except for "Additional platforms will be revealed in the months ahead." so expectations are high for another crappy effort from EA for other devices like the Vita and 3DS.

FIFA 14 on the PlayStation3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 videogame and entertainment system and PC comes with Pure Shot Innovations to gameplay that will make FIFA 14 the complete matchday experience, introducing features that inspire fans to build play through midfield, dictate the tempo of a match and create rewarding opportunities. Great matches are achieved through measured build up and incredible finishing.

A new feature in FIFA 14 called Pure Shot and a brand-new ball physics system will transform shooting, making every shot attempt feel real, and when players connect with the perfect strike, feel exhilarating. "FIFA 14 will play the way great matches are contested with build up through midfield, tension throughout the match as chances are created, and incredible finishing," said David Rutter, Executive Producer for FIFA 14. "Opportunities in FIFA 14 will be rewarding and great goals will look stunning."

Full dose of marketing drivel here.

Shooter heaven, Sine Mora and Velocity Ultra free on PS+ in May

Vita owners with an itchy trigger finger will love May as we get Sine More on the 8th (I've come close to buying this one several times, glad I held out) and the new love of our lives Velocity Ultra on the 15th. That should be enough to tide us over until we start getting major titles again.

The Soul Sacrifice demo brings you pain!

So, hope you downloaded the Soul Sacrifice demo, if not, here's a quick run thought of the early going.

Just to prove it is real. 

Remember, your save game will play on the full version

I won't spoil the intro, but rest assured there's plenty of pain to endure.

Meet the book, borderline bonkers, slightly annoying accent, but at least its not Stephen Fry, navigating can be a bit quirky, but flick around to find the quests. 

Magusar is your nemesis, but the backstory and first few steps into the game show him how he once was. You can't die but practice your moves against the water beast

Read the book to find out what to do, where to go and who to kill.

After the first few minutes, the sense of epic scale, the dark tone and combat style are all laid out for you. I think they all live up to Soul Sac's billing and hype. Bring on the full game.

Soul Sacrifice demo weighs in at 1.2GB - download it now

Or 1229MB to be precise, so time for those of us with small memory cards to decide what to lose for a while. I do hate this going to System, System Information, then running around the various games on my card to figure out what I need to delete. For the next Firmware update Sony, please add a file list to make it easier.

If you want it right now, without waiting for PSN to update, go to the PC PSN site, search Soul Sacrifice "buy" the free demo, then go to your Vita and choose it from the Download list.

Remember, the save game can be used in the full release, arriving May 1 in Europe, so consider this an early start.

Vita PS+ subscribers getting two games in May

Sony is teasing on Twitter that Vita owners will get two games in May, since they've pretty much cleared out the early roster (most of which I already had), here's hoping for a decent third party game or a cool indie title. Thomas was Alone is already down for April, so what goodies might May bring?
More importantly, lets hope the EU PSN updates on time, given that the US update failed to happen due to technical problems, causing for some very grumpy (and immature) gamers to get all hissy. With the Soul Sacrifice demo due out today, its a pretty big event for western Vita owners.

XBlaze, an adventure from the BlazBlue team coming to PS Vita

This trailer makes little sense to western eyes, apart from the title and the words; Project, Original Plan,  Scenario and Development which don't really help matters. But they do set up the background for the host of characters that will feature in this adventure game that will hit Japan in the summer.

Sure, its easier to bring a fighting game to the west, and BlazBlue has graced both my PSP and Vita for ages, but there has to be a fair chance this will make it over here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Vita firmware update goes up to 2.11

Yep, they're coming out of the walls like Aliens right now. V 2.11 doesn't do anything specific, and after the highs of 2.10 you wouldn't really expect it to. All we get is stability improvements and "playback of some titles" which makes you wonder why they weren't playing in the first place.

Will update if I find any slightly more useful improvements once its up and running.

FIFA 14 unveiling tomorrow, PS3 and Vita cross play?

Hopefully EA has taken the profits from its regular chart No. 1 and shoddy update of the original FIFA Football on the Vita and put them to good use for the next in the series. Due to be announced tomorrow, FIFA 14 really should feature proper multiplayer between the PS3 and Vita, enabling multidevice homes to play the game.

I don't expect cross-buy or any such luxury but it can't be too hard to ask for a casual kick about between two consoles can it. Be very aware that if EA only talks about the big console versions, then we're in for another shit update. If that's the case please don't buy it and encourage these crooked practices.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Killzone Mercenary gets a gameplay trailer

After the hi-res art earlier, along comes a new gameplay trailer for Guerilla's upcoming gun-for-hire take on the Killzone series. Packed with cool looking set-pieces, this really looks the business and shows just what Activision could have done if it had let Nihilistic take some time with CoD.

Castle of Illusion HD coming to the Vita

Sega's badly teased next Vita game is, as expected, Disney's Mickey Mouse adventure, Castle of Illusion HD. There's a dinky teaser trailer here, but expect more pretty soon as the game will be out on multiple formats in the summer.

Sega's new football game does hairstyles well

A couple of pics are out showing off the details behind Sega's new football management sim, Make a Pro Soccer Club, that was revealed last month. Not only do the player's have fantastically detailed hairstyles (an essential part of any game where Robbie Savage could turn up), but the game looks to dig down into the numbers too when building up your squad.

Lots more on this to come, but don't hold your breath for a western release.

Killzone Mercenary art, for a price

Sony has put up some massive-res detailed art for the upcoming Vita Killzone title, they are gorgeous but you'll just have to make do with these tiny thumbnails until someone uploads them somewhere useful. Not sure if they're new, the screenshots in the folder certainly aren't but these pieces of art are pretty exquisite.

Latest UK Vita Chart, sales continue to dominate buying patterns

As with last week, the only movers on the charts seem to be the games that are going cheap, although LBP and Persona are the only real movers. Having taken a peek on Amazon, Need For Speed is the latest to go down in price. down to £15, while FIFA has not shot back up to £23. Looks like you need to keep a sharp eye out if you want a bargain. Wonder if next week's chart will reflect these changes, which suggests just how few Vita games are being sold.

That really only leaves Call of Duty and Uncharted at full price, and they'll likely only come down when the Vita's Best of... range arrives over here (launching in Japan next week). Interestingly, the top selling Vita item on Amazon has been the 32GB memory stick, suggesting that people are getting into their digital downloads in a big way. How long before the below retail chart becomes an irrelevance?


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sony suffering Vita stock shortages in Japan

A Sony Japan spokesman has apologised on their PS forums for buyers having trouble getting hold of Sony's handheld. That's probably the first time the Vita has been supply constrained since launch, having sold 30-40,000 weekly since its recent price cut.

Rare as dragon poop in Japan
SCEJ president Hiroshi Kawano said demand, notably for the new red and blue models was higher than Sony's manufacturing could provide, but should be back up to speed in time for Golden Week, Japan's big holiday at the end of April.

Friday, April 12, 2013

OMG HD Zombies detonating all over again on the Vita

How many zombies can you kill with one shot? That's often what the PSP game came down to and its getting a HD revamp from Laughing Jackal to add to the tide of sparkling Vita arcade games on the way and following on from the slightly less bloody but just as fun Hungry Giraffe.

In the game, a scientific experiment causes zombified victims to explode when attacked. Any infected matter ingested or inhaled by a human victim causes them to become a zombie in turn. That’s pretty cool in itself, but the best part is that if any infected matter lands on another zombie then that zombie explodes too, causing a rapid chain reaction of gory explosions and maximising the likelihood of nearby victims being infected. Wise to this knowledge, your Riot Cop character is able to take down whole city blocks of the undead with a single well-placed rifle round and a well chosen vantage point.

Europe gets the Soul Sacrifice demo next week

There's been lots of chuntering on forums, demanding a go on the Soul Sacrifice demo before the full game launches at the beginning of May. Well, worry no more as the demo will hit PSN next week, according to the PS blog. The game has sold pretty well in Japan, but will it be enough to spark a Monster Hunter like slavish addiction in the west?

Still no word on if the US is getting the demo, but that could change later today (UPDATE: Surprise, the US gets it on the 16th). Have pre-ordered mine already, see you on the dark side! Amazon currently has it for £30, which is likely a lot less than PSN will sell it for.

Note, the save game created in the demo can be used in the full game, a brilliant move on Sony's part and one that all gamers should be taking full advantage of.

Sawfly's first Vita game is, um, Men's Room Mayhem

Gee, we're getting some really class game content today for the Vita. Former Sony Liverpool (WipEout) team members who formed Sawfly are working on their first Vita game all about the antics in the gents. What antics, well the game has a general rating from the Aussie ratings board, so can't be that gross.

Here's a piece of art from the dev team. You can follow the game's progress on their Twitter account.

Dragon's Crown's sorceress and her magical cleavage caught on video

Perhaps the developers of Dragon's Crown have heard of feminism, possibly even chronic back pain, but have chosen to firmly ignore both in endowing the game's sorceress character with a ridiculous set of breasts.   Will you choose to be this character for any other reason than to watch them wobble around, and what would be the outcry if Blizzard had equipped one of Diablo's female characters with such a pair?

If you can look past the cleavage, you can see a wide number of her spells in action including whirlwinds, resurrection of enemies skeletons to fight for her, ice and blizzard attacks, weather spells, teleportation and other charms that should make her a formidable character in battle.

New Valhalla Knights 3 trailer ramps up the action

After a rather arty first trailer, the new clip from VH3 developer Marvelous AQL shows off a bit more of the game's action and characters. Alas, it also shows off that stupid, cat-scratching, horrible looting animation (right in the middle around 1:30) which would quickly ruin the game for me if it happens every time you search a corpse.

Nice nurse though!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jeff Minter to grace the Vita with a new Tempest game

Game design legend and sheep afficionado Jeff Minter has coded on most machines in existence with a steady stream of fun, intense, trippy arcade titles. That run will continue on the Vita with a new version of one of the finest games ever. Tempest 2000 was a must-own for the few Atari Jaguar owners out there, with hypnotic visuals, awesome soundtrack and a barrage of cool effects and endless play. A general update on the Llama blog lays out the details:
We are happy to announce that we have just begun work on a new game for the Playstation Vita. We’re going to base it on the essence of the original T2K. It’ll be the pure, straightforward shooter that maybe you hoped for when you first saw Space Giraffe. We’re not going to overload you with ultra psychedelia, but we will make it fluid and colourful and awesome-looking on the Vita’s delicious, vibrant OLED screen. We’re going to give you a perfect treat for your eyes, ears and thumbs with a modern extrapolation of one of the best shooters ever made on hardware that’s just perfectly suited for it, and in a way that retains the purity of the original design.
But there's nothing to show yet, so enjoy the Jaguar version in all its glory. I wonder how the Vita's widescreen will handle "tall" levels, if they're in the game, will we be able to tilt the screen up to see what's lurking at the top, or will that cause motion-queasiness issues in a game of this type? Can't wait to find out.

And if the questions keep coming up about is the Vita just an indie-hit machine, I guess we can wave Velocity Ultra and this at them while being too busy gaming to answer. I'd still like this lot to get a new lease of life on the Vita though.

Everybody's Golf getting a spring clean update

The Japanese PSN page has put up a big update list today for Everybody's Golf (all in image format so it doesn't translate.) See what you can make of it from the screenshots. Looks like improved messaging, multiplayer and challenge features to me.

From the UK PS Golf forum, it looks like we'll be able to play those recent downloadable courses (Mt. Sakura, Northern Fox, and Mar Cielo) in the daily tournaments from next week. Not sure if those two are related but every little helps.

Million Arthur hits Japanese Vitas today

Moving from smartphones to the Vita in Japan, Million Arthur is a hit free-to-play card battling game from Square Enix that is pretty popular over there. It is out today over there as a download, no doubt with plenty of in-app purchases to improve your odds of winning.

The video looks pretty neat, but there's only so much you can do with card battlers, even on the Vita. While we wait for the chance to play Picotto Knights or some of the other freebie goodness, this is just another curio to wave at as it passes in the night.

Cloudberry Kingdom gets fruity on the Vita

Pwnee Studios talk more about beards on their blog then they do their upcoming platform game, but its finally coming to fruition for a summer launch. Being published by Ubisoft, it features Bob, a has-been hero racing through randomly generated platform levels that tailor themselves to the player's skill level (hopefully the developers are really, really, good, based on the mayhem in this clip).

With various multiplayer modes, and a range of heroes to play as, it looks like a platformer that should never get boring or repetitive. If you can handle the slightly rough art-style, it could well be a winner.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PSN EU Update: Its Guacamelee time

No new games came out in Japan this week, but the Vita still sold nearly 20,000 units. We in the west, at least, get Guacamelee which is a 328MB download for Vita owners. It is getting rave reviews and is only £7.99 for PS+ subs, £9.99 for the rest of you.

There's also the AR mini golf game and it looks, from memory, like International Snooker has had a price cut. Sony was waving around a spring sale, called Declassified, which unfortunately doesn't contain that game or any Vita titles. Keep your eyes out for some news from Sony on that front.

Milestone show off MotoGP 2013 gameplay, camera angles

Yep, this video is from the big console version, but hopefully the Vita version won't look too shy of this, although that glass distortion effect looks pretty intensive. This clip shows off some of the camera angles with The Doctor in the saddle (on last year's wheels).

With this season promising to be a real cracker, hopefully the game will do some decent business as the riders fling themselves off into the dirt in the name of entertainment.

Batman Arkham Blackgate screens and details

Game Informer has taken the wraps of the Vita and 3DS version of the next Batman game, revealed yesterday with its own story off the main game. There's a distinct look that reveals a complex layout deep in the heart of Blackgate Island Prison (talked about by Bane in the last movie) which is having its very own riot.

Enter Bats to restore order, wading into the 2.5D style carnage with plenty of power-ups along the way to spice up the action. Batman can move between the foreground or background to fight or avoid enemies, use the Batarang to move to high places and pummel a hefty line-up of bosses using the Freeflow combat system.

Extra features include a detective mode to better help you understand what's in a level, a Predator-like view can help you see where enemies are looing and there's a load of interactive scenery like breakable walls, hding places, chandeliers you can drop on enemies and more.

If you ignore the obvious question, why couldn't the full Arkham game be put across on the Vita? Then this looks like a fun- and action-packed second best, with loads to do and plenty to beat up.

So, do you think this is a worthy title in its own right, or is Warner short-changing Vita owners? I'll wait until I see the game in action, but I think it looks high-quality enough to do the job.